This article first appeared in the original Redneck Revolt blog site.
On November 19th, 2009, Denver police arrested 32 young black men in the Denver area during what was dubbed a “24 hour roundup” by local media. Those arrested are alleged to have been involved with a series of muggings and robberies of mostly upper middle class white bar goers in the LODO area that have been an ongoing phenomenon since July.
As of the time of this writing, 35 young black people now sit in jail cells, most facing multiple felonies and over $1 million in bail each. Opportunists like Tom Tancredo have joined with the local media to decry the suspects as having perpetuated “hate crimes” against whites in the downtown entertainment district.
As headlines such as “Black Gangs Vented Hatred For Whites In Downtown Attacks” start to lay the foundation for a reactionary analysis of the events, it becomes clear that the suspects in custody have already been tried in the minds of many.
What the police say
Police allege that dozens of young black men and women active in the Rolling 60s Crips and Black Gangster Disciples street gangs created a “confederation” with a conspiracy to attack and rob bar-goers in the upscale LODO entertainment district. The suspects allegedly would send one member of the gang to identify a victim, follow them out of the bar, and than confront them. Police and victims have stated repeatedly that the attackers would say such anti-white epithets as “I hate you white crackers,” and “I want all white people to die,” before beating the victim and robbing them.
Police allege that there was no one leader to the conspiracy, and instead the gang members worked in a cooperative manner “fueled by racism against whites.” Police claim that the suspects robbed victims of Ipods, cellphones, credit cards, and sometimes hundreds of dollars of cash. Some media reports are even alleging that members of the gangs videotaped the beatings with an intention to later sell the footage on the internet. Despite these claims, police have made no claims that they have uncovered these videos.
If we take the allegations of the police as fact, then several dozen young poor and working class black people self-organized to rob upper class “yuppies” in an affluent part of downtown Denver. These assailants were often armed, and were affiliated with street gangs that have been active on a national scale.
Street gangs as militias
Street gangs have a long and sordid history in the United States. Most street level gangs share similar roots and tend to stem from poor and working class communities, and encompass members of the population that are racially or ethnically marginalized by the political and economic elite.
Most street gangs initially formed to protect communities from police or rival organizations. However, through many factors, both internal and external, gangs typically become organizations that victimize their own communities, robbing neighbors, peddling drugs and other poisons in their own neighborhoods, and generally ensuring that community members are not safe in their own environs.
However, during the events in question, gang members are not alleged to have victimized people in their own neighborhoods or even in their own economic or political situation. These suspects are accused of attacking affluent white people, in a part of town that has been gentrified and taken over by affluent and monied youth (yuppies).
If we start to look at our society as one torn between two competing classes of people, the muggings of rich whites by poor blacks starts to take a different meaning than the current media provided analysis.
When armed groups of people start to no longer victimize their own neighborhoods and instead attack those have in fact profited and gained by victimizing the assailant’s communities, we can only call these actions self defense.
Armed groups that act in self defense of a neighborhood are no longer gangs, but should rightfully be labeled as militias: volunteer organizations of armed people who are not professional soldiers that are acting to defend their interests and the interests of their communities.
In fact, instead of calling these actions hate crimes, working class and poor whites should be praising these alleged actions as acts of a legitimate militia working to defend a community under attack.
LODO as occupied territory
Lower Downtown Denver (LODO) has become a safe haven for yuppies and the children of the economic and political elite since the efforts to gentrify the area succeeded fairly recently. Rundown warehouses have been replaced with expensive condos and “live, work, and play” new urbanism.
The stranglehold of upper class development has been threatening all working class and poor people in Denver. No community however, has felt this squeeze more than the black community.
The nearby Five Points Neighborhood, a historically black neighborhood, has been feeling the squeeze of the gentrification and redevelopment of LODO. Black residents have been pushed from their neighborhoods and sent further East and South, to other neighborhoods and even to the surrounding suburbs.
So, as poor and working class blacks get pushed further and further from the downtown core, LODO represents a bastion of freedom for those that have done the pushing, a safehaven for the young elite to play and drink the night away.
This is class war not race war
While political opportunists like Tom Tancredo rail about racially motivated “hate crimes”, a quick look at the real commonality of all the victims will reveal the most likely motive for the robberies.
As one suspect allegedly told police, the victims were mugged “because they got a lot of money.” When you’re poor and you are trying to survive, robbing the folks with the money makes sense. It just happens that it’s not a coincidence that the folks with the money in LODO are almost all white.
Poor and working class people don’t usually frequent LODO bars and clubs. The area is affluent, with trendy upscale eateries and establishments that don’t cater to those within certain income brackets. If you want to mug someone with money on a Friday or Saturday night in Denver, LODO just makes sense. It really can be as simple as that.
As far as the comments allegedly made by the suspects, several factors could describe such “anti-white” comments. The first, most logical explanation (if these comments were indeed made), could be that it’s easy for someone who has been on the receiving end of racism by whites for their entire lives to have a natural animosity toward rich white people. That this animosity would translate into anti-white epithets is just common sense. If you see people taking away your neighborhoods, enjoying an expensive bar scene and having secure jobs while you have to hustle just to survive, you’re going to be angry. If those people are mainly white, then you’re going to start to identify those that benefit at your expense by their skin color.
To me, as a white working class man, this just makes sense. I can’t in anyway fault folks that have grown angry at white people. Hell, even those of us that aren’t rich have profited from racism. And we tend to defend racism everyday. Especially in the comments sections of news articles about poor blacks robbing rich whites.
White working class solidarity
Now, more than ever before, it becomes important for white working class people, not only in Denver, but everywhere, to remain critical of any allegations made by the police or other institutions that are used to protect the economic and political elite. We don’t know the full story, we have no idea what the individual motivations for these muggings were. This is not the time to jump to the conclusions being offered by those that exploit us like Tom Tancredo.
Even if the allegations are correct, can we at all blame these suspects? As the official unemployment rate creeps toward 11% and hundreds of families lose their homes everyday, how can we condemn these actions?
How can we condemn poor blacks attacking rich people even as white working class people across the country form militias and call for a second civil war against these same economic elites?
It will always be in the best interests of poor and working class whites to support class based attacks against the rich. We must look at armed poor and working class blacks not as enemies, but as comrades in arms. We have the same enemy. And maybe, if we working class whites start to ally ourselves with our black and latino counterparts, we can actually earn the right to not be distrusted based on our skin color.
We must earn this respect. And we surely won’t earn it by continuing to uphold and defend the same power structure that we purportedly are also trying to combat.
Poor and working class whites should be storming the jails to free these people, not praising the police and calling for their imprisonment.
Beyond romance and heroes
Far from trying to romanticize the actions that have been alleged to have taken place, this essay is instead intended to try to create a critical framing of the events in question. Why would poor and working class blacks organize into street gangs, and then systemically attack and rob upper class whites? There can be hundreds of different answers to these questions, of course, and the above analysis is just one of many possibilities. The truth is probably far more nuanced than any analysis that one person can offer.
However, without a concrete understanding and dissection of the political and economic reality that all poor and working class people face, especially those that are marginalized by racism, any analysis being offered by the mainstream media and scum like Tom Tancredo is merely self serving.
The media, police, and wealthy politicians will continue to use this situation to their advantage, and attempt to “otherize” young poor blacks. It in the interests, then, of those fighting for a world of real liberty against exploitation by political and economic elites (as the mostly white Liberty Movement claims to be), to start to offer a conflicting analysis that can start to take the power away from those that only seek to maintain these systems of inequity. If we take the bait of the media and Tancredo, and further divide ourselves from these people, then we’re really harming our own struggle toward liberty.
Thoughts of support and solidarity to these 35 defendants. No matter what your intentions, this redneck won’t shed a tear when rich people get robbed.
Sources and media coverage that serves the interests of the elites: